Kentucky Cruises Past Furman on Sunday
On Sunday, two guards for the Kentucky women’s basketball team experienced a bit of role reversal. Turns out that it worked out well for them both.
Saniya Tyler had started every game but one this season, but she was asked to come off the bench against Furman Sunday. On the other hand, Cassidy Rowe had started just one game this season, but the Virgie, Kentucky, native was given the starting nod against the Paladins.
Both Tyler and Rowe seemed to thrive in their given roles on Sunday as the Cats cruised to a 75-45 victory inside Rupp Arena. Tyler scored a career-high 17 points to lead Kentucky, while Rowe also had a career-high in points with seven and in rebounds with five. She added two assists, a blocked shot and a steal.
UK head coach Kyra Elzy said that the change in the starting lineup was to reward Rowe for her hard work.
“We’ve rotated our starting lineup but I thought Cassidy has been solid in practice and what I was looking for,” Elzy said. “Her ability to shoot the ball, she was making hustle plays, taking charges and so I rewarded her from her practices. She stepped up, was solid today, seven points, five rebounds which that’s huge, two to one assist to turnover ratio. Did her job, which is what I expect from her.”
But the change was also a plus for Tyler, according to the UK head coach.
“S.T. came off the bench today, had a solid day,” Elzy said. “I think that took some pressure off her, let her just come in and play basketball. She did a great job today.”
Ajae Petty had 16 points and nine rebounds for UK, while Maddie Scherr had 13 points, eight assists, five rebounds and five steals
Kentucky established an early lead on a three by Scherr and a basket from Petty. The Cats would extend the lead to six on multiple occasions but Furman closed the first period on an 8-3 run. UK would lead 16-15 after 10 minutes of action.
The Cats opened the second period with threes from Scherr and Tyler and a runner from Petty to lead 24-15. Furman would get back within five, 28-23, before the Cats scored the final nine points of the half, including five from Cassidy Rowe, to take a 37-23 lead into the half.
Furman scored the first four points of the third period to get the UK lead to 37-27. But the Cats would close the period with a 20-8 run, including six points from Emma King, to take a 57-35 advantage into the final quarter.
In the final stanza, Kentucky outscored Furman 18-10, with the 30-point final margin proving to be the Cats’ biggest lead of the game.
Kentucky returns to action on Thursday, facing Lipscomb at Rupp Arena in the final contest before the holiday break. Tipoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game can be seen on SEC Network Plus.